'Shefflin's untouchable legacy is unlikely ever to be eclipsed'
The GPA has paid the highest compliment to retired Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin by saying that his legacy in the game is unlikely ever to be surpassed.
There was a packed press conference at Langton's Hotel in Kilkenny city this afternoon to hear the man himself reveal that he was hanging up his hurl.
The 36-year-old exits the stage with 13 All-Ireland titles to his name, 10 with Kilkenny and three club titles with Ballyhale Shamrocks, the last coming on St Patrick's Day in his club colours .
The GPA released a statement shortly after praising the contributions of the decorated hurler.
"As the most successful GAA player of all time, Henry has been an extraordinary ambassador not alone for Gaelic games and its great amateur players but for Irish sport in general," it read.
"His enduring dedication, including overcoming two career-threatening injuries, has inspired a generation on and off the playing field. His untouchable legacy is unlikely ever to be eclipsed.
"A true role model for all aspiring athletes, Henry’s exceptional competitive zeal has always been underpinned by great sportsmanship and integrity. It is most fitting that, at 36 years of age, he was afforded the privilege of closing this chapter in his life as an All-Ireland champion with Ballyhale.
"As a legendary figure in the Irish sporting world we hope that Henry’s career, in time, is given due recognition by the State through a long-awaited honours system for our sporting heroes. However, he will certainly never be forgotten by the GAA family.
The player himself says he feels the time is right to step down.
"It is with a deep sense of gratitude and personal contentment that I am announcing today that I am bringing to an end my inter-county playing career with the Kilkenny Senior Hurling Team," he said.
"When I reflect back over the past 16 years playing the game that I love, at the highest level with Kilkenny, it is impossible to quantify the endless hours of happiness, satisfaction and fulfilment I have enjoyed. The various challenges I experienced along the way became opportunities for me to develop as a person both on and off the field of play.
"I will always be eternally grateful to the numerous people who have encouraged and supported me in my pursuit of my sporting dreams.
Shefflin has been a thorn in the sides of opposition teams since he arrived on the scene in the Walsh Cup in 1999.